I can't seem to find an answer on google...perhaps I am using the wrong query.....

I have an ESXi test system that is in production and is using a single SATA disk for the VM's datastore. I would like to move them over to the new ESXi server and I am keeping the same disk. Can I simply swap drives and boot??

The test system is an i7 workstation and the new server is a supermicro with intel mobo and dual xeons....both running 4.1 (not positive the supermicro is running the 4.1 update 1).

(also no raid because the VM's are just running license dongles for software on the network...VM's backed up elsewhere)


Assuming that ESXi isn't installed on the disk in question, then yes, you should be able to simply install the disk in the new server. If you don't see it immediately, you may need to go to the Configuration tab for the host and choose "rescan" or "Add Storage". Of course, whatever you do, don't format the existing storage again, or you'll lose the data on it. You will probably have to browse the datastore and add the VMs you want to inventory, but it should be a pretty painless process.

  • Perfect! I swapped the drives and I just had to browse the datastore and add to inventory. – SkinnyGeek1010 Jul 26 '11 at 1:30

Maybe this information will be useful to someone:

I had to do the same as SkinnyGeek1010, but with ESXi installed on the SATA disk and rescan on Web Interface didn't worked (HD was reconized but not the datastore on it). I had to connect ESXi Server by SSH and use these commands to access the VMs on disk:

esxcfg-volume -l * to list the volumes

esxcfg-volume -m (VMFS UUID) * to mount it

For example:

esxcfg-volume -m 4d4ac840-c1386fa0-9f6d-0050569300a7

The names of datastores must be different to avoid errors


Yes. I have done this even with entire RAID arrays on different hardware. ESXi is booting to a thumb drive (obviously). Install fresh on the new thumb drive, pull the entire array, put it in the new system, import it into the RAID controller, go with VMWare.

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